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NTIA Provides BTOP Progress Report

Broadband stimulus grant recipients spent more than $420
million in federal money to deploy and promote broadband in the third quarter
of 2012 (ended June), according to the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration's latest quarterly report on its BTOP broadband grant program.

Grant recipients matched that with $125 million of their own
money, according to the NTIA to Congress.

Almost 15,000 miles of new or upgraded network was deployed
in the quarter, says NTIA, bringing the total to more than 72,000 in 47 states
and territories added through the grant program.

NTIA says as part of its oversight of the projects, it made
31 visits to recipients responsible for $925 million in federal grant money,
and that to date (again, that is through June), had visited nearly 65% of BTOP
grant recipients.

"From April to June 2012, BTOP grant recipients
continued to demonstrate strong performance across the Program's FY12
goals," said NTIA. "These positive results have helped the program
deliver significant progress in areas such as new fiber-optic infrastructure
construction...and thousands of new broadband subscribers now experiencing the
benefits of high-speed Internet service."

The report says that through June, 380,000 households and
8,000 businesses have signed up for broadband due to the digital literacy
training also being underwritten by the grants, with almost 55,000 added in the
most recent quarter. That 380,000 figure tops a BTOP target of 350,000 new subs
by 2012.

Cable operators
and other telecoms continue to be concerned
that grant recipients are using
the money to overbuild existing plant.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.